Former CJI urges govt to reverse forest mismanagement

Former Chief Justice of India M.N. Venkatachaliah release a book " Challenges of a tropical forester for sustainable development" by IFS (Rtd), A C Lakshmana (Extreme right), during the book release program at Aranya Bhavan in Bengaluru on Monday, 14 Octo

Former Chief Justice of India M N Venkatachalaiah, on Monday, criticised decades of improper policies, which he said, had wreaked havoc on the state’s forests.

He was speaking at the launch of a new memoir on forests and the environment.

“Today, we are in a precarious position. The world is in the throes of climate change and the need to conserve our forests has never been greater than before,” said the Chief Justice. He called upon the state government to reverse what he described as decades of “mismanagement of forests.”

“Now that a new government has taken over, it must take a strong second look at the way our forests are managed,” Justice Venkatachalaiah said.

The book, titled ‘Challenges of a Tropical Forester for Sustainable Development,’ is penned by former forest officer A C Lakshmana, IFS, former secretary to the government of Karnataka, who described it partly as a memoir and partly a call to action, to address the decimation of the state’s forests. 

Lakshmana, who is reputed in forestry circles for almost single-handedly saving the asiatic wild dogs (dholes) from extinction at the start of his career in the 1960s, described the fate of forests as being integral to the future of humankind.

“Civilisation started with the felling of the first tree and will end with the felling of the last tree,” he said.

The memoir primarily describes Lakshmana’s challenges in ecological conservation and his interactions with powerful industrialists, politicians, bureaucrats and conservationists till 1979. Lakshmana said the second part of his memoir was on the anvil.

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